Bifurcation and stability analysis of aircraft turning manoeuvres

AJ Rankin, B Krauskopf, MH Lowenberg, EB Coetzee

Research output: Working paper

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During ground manoeuvres a loss of lateral stability due to the saturation of the main landing gear tyres can cause the aircraft to enter a skid or a spin. The lateral stability is governed not only by aspects of the gear design, such as its geometry and tyre characteristics, but also by operational parameters, for example, the weather and taxiway condition. In this paper we develop an improved understanding and new presentation of the dynamics of an aircraft manoeuvring on the ground, ultimately aimed at optimisation and automa- tion of ground operations. To investigate turning manoeuvres we apply techniques from dynamical systems theory to a modified version of a nonlinear computer model of an A320 passenger aircraft developed by the Landing Gear Group at Airbus UK. Specifically, we present a bifurcation analysis of the underlying solution structure that governs the dynamics of turning manoeuvres with dependence on the steering angle and thrust level. Furthermore, a detailed study of the behaviour when lateral stability is lost focuses on how the tyre saturation at different wheel sets lead to qualitatively different types of overall behaviour. The presented bifurcation diagrams identify parameter regions for which undesirable behaviour is avoidable and, thus, they form a foundation for defining the safe operating limits during turning manoeuvres.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Sponsorship: EPSRC with support from Airbus in the UK.


  • bifurcation analysis
  • aircraft turning


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